New Foraging Festival Encourages People to Explore Scotland

Foraging Fortnight, 31st August – 15th September

Foraging Fortnight, a brand-new festival taking place across five diverse regions of Scotland this autumn, has been announced.

From coastal exploration to herbal wellness, wild food feasts to fireside evenings and topical talks, Foraging Fortnight will allow people to explore Scotland’s natural places and increase their knowledge of wild food and medicinal plants through a series of events.

The LEADER funded project will take place from 31st August – 15th September across five of Scotland’s distinct regions:  From the rolling hills of Lanarkshire, the golden beaches and fields of Fife; the mountains and coast of Moray; to the woodlands and lochs of the Forth Valley and Loch Lomond area; and the diverse islands of Orkney.

The festival programme has been designed to encourage people of all ages to participate safely and responsibly in different foraging activities, while discovering some of the most breath-taking parts of Scotland. Offering a range of free and paid-for tickets, each region has tailored the two-week festival to showcase its surroundings and unique local flora. Participants will be able to forage for medicinal plants, learn how to cook with wild ingredients or attend one of the many feasts of foraged food.

Events already confirmed in the growing line up include The Scottish Wild Food Festival taking place on 14th September on Cardross Estate in the Forth Valley and Loch Lomond area. This brand-new event will include a series of hands-on workshops, bread-making courses, folklore walks throughout the estate and the chance to try freshly prepared food and drink made of wild ingredients. The event will also include spectacular one-table feasts from Buck & Birch’s Rupert Waites and Marysia Paszkowska of Monachyle Mhor.

Further north, a significant part of the acclaimed Orkney International Science Festival will be dedicated to the theme with foraging walks, food workshops and a look at the health and nutrition benefits of seaweed with an evening of Neolithic inspired foraged food.  The festival welcomes Eva Gunnare from Swedish Lapland who will be giving talks and tastings on summer foraging for Arctic herbs and Zeki Basan from the Cairngorms, who will be hosting a series of workshops from tanning fish skins to bush craft outings.

Wendy Barrie, Scottish Food Guide said:

“Scotland is an ideal place for foraging; from woodland fungi and flowers to seashore areas.  The five regions taking part in Foraging Fortnight will showcase the true diversity of habitats and we hope that the events will provide opportunities for visitors and local communities alike to discover some really special places.  Foraging is an activity that’s outstanding for mental and physical fitness and something that is truly accessible to everyone.”

Fiona Richmond, Head of Regional Food at Scotland Food & Drink, added:

“It’s great to see this exciting new initiative take place during this year’s Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight, which celebrates Scotland’s reputation as a Land of Food and Drink and the role it plays in driving a vibrant tourism sector. Foraging Fortnight will encourage curious foodies to get out and about and discover some of the fantastic wild produce that grows along the coasts and in the woodlands of Scotland, offering everyone the opportunity to explore, learn and be inspired by our iconic scenery and diverse local larder.”

The festival aims to leave a legacy of increased public awareness and expertise of sustainable foraging along with a greater understanding of the health and well-being benefits of foraging in natural environments. The festival will be repeated in May 2020 in four of the regions and in September 2020 in Orkney.

Foraging Fortnight events will encourage adherence to Scotland’s Outdoor Access Code and organisers have put together foraging guidelines to ensure that those taking part are doing so in a safe and responsible way.

The full programme will be announced on

Foraging Fortnight is part of Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight, which runs from 31st August to 15th September.


Entries and nominations are being sought for the NFU Mutual and Scotland Food and Drink Inspirational Young Person Award 2019, which ran for the first time last year. The award recognises the incredible talent and dedication being shown by Scotland’s young people within the food and drink sector.

Last year the award was a great success and uncovered some incredible young talent including then-18-year-old Helen Stewart of Bavdo Distillery, who obtained grants and worked seven days a week in order to develop a micro gin distillery as part of the family farm in Perthshire to generate extra income. Helen used her winning prize money to promote a new product launch - Gin Postcards - a five-piece collection of glass hipflask-esque bottles with different images on them representing what makes Badvo unique. The launch was a huge success and the range sold out in two weeks.

This year’s Award hopes to bring out even more inspirational stories of young people aged between 16 and 26 who own, work or study within businesses in the food and drink sector, and are driving success within the Scottish food and drink industry.

The winners of the ‘NFU Mutual and Scotland Food & Drink Inspirational Young Person Award 2019’ will be announced during Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight in September 2019 as part of the industry’s annual celebrations. The award aims to highlight not only the enormous contribution that young people make to Scotland’s food and drink businesses, but also the importance of the sector to the wider economy.


Martin Malone, NFU Mutual Regional Manager in Scotland and Northern Ireland said:

“We are delighted to be running the award again this year in partnership with Scotland Food & Drink, giving us the opportunity to recognise the fantastic young people within this sector here in Scotland.

"Although it was no easy task, I am very much looking forward to be judging again after the high standard of entries submitted last year. This gave me a real insight into the scale of diversity and innovation amongst young people in food and drink, ranging from those working within a big company and challenging ideas, those pushing family-owned businesses to a higher level of sustainability, those just starting out with an innovative idea or those building and running their own established business. The way these driven, young minds approach work is inspiring and a real honour to be part of.”


James Withers, Chief Executive of Scotland Food & Drink, said:

“It’s great to once again be supporting NFU Mutual as they seek out and celebrate the most inspiring young foodies in Scotland. Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight is a celebration not only of Scotland’s wonderful produce and outstanding producers but also of the people who are helping to secure an exciting future for the food and drink industry in Scotland and there’s many exceptional young people who are contributing to that.

“I would encourage employers, tutors, colleagues, customers or young people themselves to nominate any individual who they feel is worthy of this award.”


How to Enter

The NFU Mutual and Scotland Food & Drink Inspirational Young Person Award 2019 is open for entries until 31st July 2019, with winners announced in September. Entries, which should comprise the submission of up to 750 words, can be submitted online via this link.

Any individual between the ages of 16 and 26 who owns, works, or studies within a food and drink related business, organisation or institution can be nominated or enter on their own behalf. The winner will receive £500, with the second and third place finalists receiving £300 and £200 respectively.


How to get into a career in food and drink

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Read our top tips guide, below, to find out more!